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How Much Should A Shirt Shrink?

 

If there’s one apparel that can be worn at any moment (be it official meetings, parties, hangouts, celebrations, etc) it’s has to be dress shirts. There’s absolutely no doubt about this! Whether to go to work or a party, you’ll get to see majority of men dressed in designer dress shirts.

This also means that the more wear your dress shirt, the more frequently you’ll have to wash it in order for it to look clean and attractive. This is where the disturbing part comes in. Dress shirts and frequent washing don’t go along. It is said that in order for a shirt to last a long time, it has to be washed sporadically (as little as possible). So, if you consider washing a dress shirt after every five wears, you can extend the durability of the shirt substantially.

Here, you come across yet another problem i.e. shrinking. Every dress shirt is open to the risk of shrinking when washed. This is the unfortunate truth for not only shirts but other types of clothing. It can get quite vexing when a shirt (which once had a perfect fit) shrinks simply because you washed it!

If you don’t possess adequate knowledge on dress shirt shrinkage, here’s an excellent opportunity to acquire substantial information about it:

 

Standard Percentage of Dress Shirt Shrinkage

The standard percentage of how much dress shirts will shrink may vary from 1% to 3%, depending on the type of fabric the shirt is made of. For example, dress shirts made from cotton (woven) have an average shrink percentage of 2%. Now this may sound relatively insubstantial, but if you break it down into different facets, this 2% translates to 0.7% for the sleeves (35-inch length), 0.3% for the collar (15 inches) and so on. That is why it’s important to keep this in mind. However, if your shirts happens to shrink more than the standard percentage (i.e. beyond 3%), then it’s likely you have brought a defective piece. So there isn’t much that you can do about it.

 

Washing and Dying Dress Shirts

When it comes to dry-cleaning, there always seems to be opposing opinions. Some people feel that dress shirts don’t shrink when washed in this manner while some reckon they do. The fact of the matter is that it depends entirely on how carefully the shirt is washed. If the dress is exposed to absolutely no water, then it may not shrink at all. But if absorbs a bit of water, you experience a slight shrinkage. In other words, the more often you wash your dress shirts in water, the higher is the possibility of shrinkage.

Moreover, the shrinkage will be much more substantial if you wash the shirts in the washer and subsequently dry them at high temperatures in the dryer. Hence, the way you wash and dry your shirts has a direct impact on the degree of shrinkage.

 

Shrinkage Occurs Gradually

One of the biggest misconceptions that people have about shrinkage is that their shirts will shrink immediately after the first wash. That’s not the case at all! Dress shirts dwindle over time, not right after the first wash or two. So, the next time you decide to wash your shirt, check it closely before and after the process. It’s unlikely you’ll notice any change in proportions.

 

Reduction Length and Width

In general, dress shirts have a disposition of shrinking more length-wise and lesser width-wise. That is why you’ll often experience substantially more shrinkage in your sleeves and collar in comparison to the width. Moreover, the shrinkage ratio between the length and width may vary from fabric to fabric.

 

Fabrics with High Shrinkage Percentage

As said earlier, most dress shirts have a standard shrinkage percentage ranging from 1% to 3%. However, there are some fabrics that have a higher (than standard) shrinkage percentage, some of which include Oxford, chambray and fine printed cloths. These fabrics are generally used in casual style shirts and shrink well over 3%. Therefore, they should be washed using the “dry clean” method. This may help minimize the degree of shrinkage.

 

Important Considerations

You should how expensive designer dress shirts can be, from $150 right up till $500 (that’s some serious money).That is why highly important to consider what’s beneficial and what’s detrimental for the shirt so as ensure long-lasting use.

Moreover, if your shirt is super expensive, it’s always better to give it to a reliable dry cleaner as opposed to washing it yourself. They employ advanced technology, ideal for modern dress shirts. This not only protects the fabric, but also prevents unwanted shrinkage.

Another great tip is to buy shirts that are made from preshrunk fabric. This simply means a fabric which the manufacturer washes the fabric a number of times prior to using it. This act eliminates the possibility of any further shrinkage. So, if you are someone who wants his shirts’ fitting to be immutable, then preshrunk fabric is the way to go.

 

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